Power steering leak/wetness and whether to do a flush


New forum member here. I own a 2004 Honda Accord V6 (automatic transmission) with 174K miles. About 3 years (and 16K miles) ago the dealer said I had a power steering rack leak. I then took it to a Honda/Acura specific mechanic and he said it’s just wet, could stay like that for years, and no action was necessary. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on it and the fluid level has remained in the acceptable zone (between min and max) with no leakage to the ground.

I recently took the car to another mechanic and he recommended a power steering flush as part of his inspection of the vehicle. The last time I had that done was about 7 1/2 years (and 50K miles) ago. That was prior to the dealer mentioning the leak 3 years ago.

The other power steering related history on this car is as follows (I’m the original owner):
Mar 2013 - 120K miles - recall - installed an updated power steering feed hose kit (this was 7 months prior to the most recent flush mentioned above)
Dec 2010 - 89K miles - power steering pump replaced
Feb 2009 - 60K miles - power steering flush

So I wanted to get some opinions on what I should do. I’m not noticing any steering issues but based on some light research, it seems like replacing the power steering fluid every few years is worth doing (which I’m a little behind on since the last time was 7 1/2 years ago). Would you go ahead and have the flush done? Could doing so make the leak/wetness issue worse or even break something? Anything else here jump out at you?


Normally I’d be all for fresh power steering fluid. Not a flush, just a change. But in this case (174K), a fluid seep (not a leak)… I’d say leave it alone.

Fixing the leak is going to require a rebuilt rack. Big expense on a car this old with this many miles on it. You don’t want to disturb any buildup that might be keeping it more or less sealed. Just leave it alone.


Thanks, I appreciate the advice.

How much do you think a rebuilt rack would cost on this car?

It never hurts to service the fluids in a vehicle.


I ended up to a small leak that became a massive leak, it was the hose that goes to the rack, now it was $800 to replace the hoses, but the rack was fine, get a proper diagnosis. My guys cleaned it all up and found the leak a couple weeks later. A flush is an experiment in futility imhop

You can call a local parts store or look on line which is what I would have to do plus I don’t even know where you are located. Also the shop you might use can give you a price for parts and labor.

Was your small leak an actual leak or was it more of a seep (as Mustangman described mine above)?

In your situation (no fluid level drop) I wouldn’t think of repairing it. I’d just keep an eye on the level. At most, I might use something like a turkey baster to pull old fluid out of the reservoir and replace it with Honda brand (not just Honda spec) PS fluid.


It was a small leak that turned into a blowout.

I’ve replaced a hose, replaced a pump, and replaced a rack. The only time fluid was replaced was with the pump or rack replacement as a requirement for the warranty. Never hurts I guess but I’d leave it. I did add a stop leak once and that fixed a leak problem. Just saying, not recommending. How long is this car going to be with the living?

I’m tempted to get a proper diagnosis but I’m thinking they may have a tough time identifying where it’s seeping since it’s so minor.

I’ve kept it pretty well maintained and I think it’s in good shape other than this and a slight valve cover leak (not leaking to the ground, barely seeping). They also mentioned doing an induction service but I’m hesitant on that.

The car drives smooth and is in great condition cosmetically. I just put some new tires on last summer. I’m thinking/hoping it could be around for a while.

Why ? You seem to be only driving 6000 miles a year now and you say it does not leak that much. A diagnostic will cost about 100.00 to 125.00 just put some stop leak stuff in and see what happens . 17 years old and 174000 miles just drive on and find something else to worry about.

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Well, I was figuring that if they can identify the issue and if it isn’t too expensive to fix, I could have them do that and then replace or flush the fluid…which might prevent bigger issues with the rack later on. Maybe that’s too many “ifs” and “mights” though.

I’ve been driving about 6K a year the last few years but that will probably be going up soon to around 10-12K a year, so I want this to be a reliable car.

I’d be surprised if it’s not a weeping rack, based on your posts. Even if it’s just a seal that would probably require removal and disassembly. If I was sure it wasn’t a hose, I’d live with it.

My opinion would be to just keep an eye on the fluid level and drive it until it gets to the point you’re having to add fluid every week or so.

The cure would be a new or rebuilt rack as leaks from the rack or pinion seal in the rack are usually not worth the effort. Often once torn down there are tiny scratches in the rack or the pinion shaft and new seals will not rectify that.

Ok. I’m guessing it’s not a hose based on what the mechanics have told me.

I guess I’m down the path of eventually needing a rebuilt/new rack…either due to the leak one day getting worse or the rack going bad due to old, crummy fluid. It would just be a question of which cause happens first. So if that’s the case, it’s not worth poking the bear by messing around with the fluid and possibly making the leak worse (unless I try the turkey baster method you mentioned, which sounds relatively safe).

Thanks. That’s good to know.

Could this be your problem? Did mine a couple of years ago. This is my entry in my log for leaking power steering fluid in my 2006 Accord V6: R/R BLACK O-RING IN POWER STEERING PUMP INLET WITH RED O-Ring (91345-RDA-A01) $3.15 FROM EBAY. It is Honda Service bulletin 07-086. Good luck!

Don’t loose sleep over that. You can always drive it without power steering to the nearest shop for repair.